To make his point, the author reached back nearly three full decades to the report in 1983 of the National Commission on Excellence in Education, which told of a "rising tide of mediocrity" that had engulfed American education, a tide so devastating in its effects that, in the words of the report: "If an unfriendly foreign power had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. As it stands, we have allowed this to happen to ourselves."
"Is treason a crime?" Blumenfeld asked, noting that an act of war against the United States, committed by Americans themselves would be treason. He went on to cite several other crimes committed in the name of education, including pornography and drug pushing. The pornography is what sex education has become, Blumenfeld said, though when it was first introduced in the 1960's, most parents thought it would be teaching the children "about the birds and the bees." Now the schools are promoting sexual activity among youngsters, by preaching "safe sex" and handing out condoms, while teaching homosexuality as a "lifestyle" as early as kindergarten and first grade, he said. Blumenfeld, A Massachusetts resident, Blumenfeld recalled a father in Lexington, Mass. was escorted from his child's school by the police several years ago when he insisted on seeing what his daughter, a first-grader, was being taught in her sex education class.
As for drug pushing, today's schools create an environment loaded with distractions, then insist on Ritalin and other "medications" for students who are hyperactive and have trouble concentrating, Blumenfeld said. The list of crimes Blumenfeld claims the schools are committing has grown over several decades, as the author and critic has observed and written about them in seven books over the past 30 years. Much of what is wrong with education has to do with the way reading is taught, or, more accurately, is not taught, Blumenfeld insists. He blames professional educators for abandoning the systematic teaching of phonics, a problem the nation discovered 56 years ago when Rudolph Flesch published his 1955 best seller, Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It. Despite the book's notoriety and the concern of many parents over declining reading skills among school children, the education establishment has continued to teach the reading of English as though it were Chinese, Blumenfeld said. As a result, we not only have teachers who don't know how to teach students to read, but teachers colleges who can't teach teachers how to teach students to read, he said. The author ridiculed the "whole word" or "look-say" method of teaching reading as one that substitutes guesswork for exactitude. Reading texts in the early grades, like the "Dick and Jane" readers that were prevalent when Flesch wrote his book, pair words with pictures, so the child sees a picture of a horse, for example, alongside the word "horse."
"So a child who sees 'h-o-r-s-e' might read it as pony,'" Blumenfeld said. "And the teacher is delighted because the child is getting the concept. But someone who sees h-o-r-s-e and says 'pony' isn't reading."
Since reading is the key to learning in virtually all subjects, the entire education effort has been undermined by the "look-say" method and a child's love of learning is retarded, if not extinguished. It is, Blumenfeld said, as though the schools were performing "non-surgical frontal lobotomies" on the students, the evidence of which may be seen in the zombie-like behavior of young people on the streets, in front of video games or in the shopping malls. To make matters worse, this "dumbing down" of education is being financed by a tax system that "extorts" increasing amounts of money from parents and others to pay for the non-education of the children.
"Is extortion a crime?" Blumenfeld asked. He recommended the public schools be privatized, with foundations established to provide financial assistance for parents who cannot afford their children's tuition. At the same time, the parents and other taxpayers would be relieved of the tax burden they now endure to pay for public schools.
Blumenfeld said the education establishment has been dominated for most of the 20th and now the 21st Century by Marxists and Fabian Socialists, who have imposed their methods gradually so the American people would grow used to them by degrees and would not rebel against them. Now with sex education and other programs undermining conventional morality, parental rights have been diminished, along with the minds of their children. The souls of the children are also endangered by a system of education that is often called, in an oxymoron, "free and compulsory." The bureaucratic elite running government schools have a vested interest in promoting a form of education that discourages what is often called, "thinking outside the box." In fact, Blumenfeld said, it discourages thinking, period.
Blumenfeld's lectures, books and essays invite citizens to beware of the concentration of power in a national education establishment and the influence, for time and eternity, of that establishment in corrupting the minds and souls of youth. An invading army or band of terrorists may assail the flesh with bombs and bullets, but the weapons employed by today's educators are both more subtle and more deadly, he warned. His words bring to mind the warning of One who long ago told of the fatal effects of miseducation.
"And fear ye not them that kill the body and are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him that can kill both soul and body in hell." (Matthew 10:28)